EC: Take us through a lap of a circuit with the R8 LMS on which you've also competed in one of the prototypes (R8, R10) on how different it is.
DC: Monza is the only track where I have competed with the R10 (in 2008) and the R8 LMS (this year). It is really difficult to compare the two cars. The top speed is more than 40 km/h [24.9 mph] less than the prototype on the straight, and despite this difference the braking point is 50 meters earlier than in the prototype. The agility through the slow chicane is completely different, even though the R10 was for sure the most agile sports car on the market. Through Variante Ascari, it is flat, or easy flat, on new tires with the prototype at 220 km/h [136.7 mph] compared to being off throttle for a long time in the R8 LMS at a speed of 175 km/h [108.7 mph] through the Parabolica, which is a very long medium-speed at entry and high-speed at the exit. The stability of the prototype is superior to the R8 LMS, which is more like a road car.
EC: There are always comparisons between drivers in Europe and those in the USA. You have plenty of experience to go with your frequent flier miles. What observations do you have on GT racing at home versus over here?
DC: The quality of the GT driver is much higher here in the USA compared to in Italy, where the Championship is made to allow non-professional drivers to compete with professional drivers. In the FIA GT Championship, the level is at least the same as in ALMS.
EC: Depending on schedules, do you think you would like to do a long-distance race in the R8 LMS? I was surprised that you weren't drafted to drive at the recent Nürburgring 24 Hours. Audi could have won that race.
DC: Actually, I asked Audi not to count on me for this long race only because I don't know the race track as well as the other drivers. Allan [McNish] did the same for the same reason. On such a special and unique race track, the knowledge of the track is fundamental to be competitive and to be consistently fast.
EC: Have you had any testing time aboard the R15 since Le Mans, and was there any special preparation for you to be ready for Petit Le Mans?
DC: After Audi decided to race in Petit, we had three test days in Vallelunga to prepare for this race.
EC: For the 2010 season, will it be the usual drama of waiting for Audi to announce its plans at the Essen Show? Do you think you will be driving both prototype and GT next year?
DC: From one side, I hope not to have time to drive the R8 LMS because we will be busy with the R15. But in the case of a small program like this year, I really would like to continue because next year the R8 LMS will be a step forward compared to the existing car in GT3.
EC: Like all racecars, there is always improvement. What areas of the R8 LMS do you feel could be better?
DC: There are so many areas where this car must be improved. The gearbox and brakes are the two main areas.
EC: Last question: Are you still having fun?
DC: Of course I am having fun, and I have to say that being involved in a new challenge with a new car gave me some extra focus. Because the car is struggling in terms of performance in Italy, I have found that I need to be driving at 110 percent all the time, and that has increased my enjoyment.